Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Feeling Young While Lying Down

Writing some clean contemporary romance never crossed my mind.

Neither did lying down working on it.

Please don't read into this position of rest being synonymous with the romance aspect of the book. Again, this is a clean book I'm writing, not unlike all of the others I've written.

Up until the past few days, I hadn't been able to concentrate fully on Two Suitors.  I know I wanted to work on it.  But I needed to find the time to lie down, because that is the only way I could ever focus on it.

Well, I am going to make the time to do that.  I started doing that late last week.

With pen and paper, and my smart phone cued to Cheap Trick on Pandora, I lay down on my stomach across the bed, and got to work on this book that seems to never let me go.  While in this unconventional position to "work," and hearing tunes such as "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender," ideas came like they never had.

I soon realized I was like a teenager writing in her diary listening to her favorite music through a pair of ear buds to try to escape into another reality in her favorite room in the house:  her bedroom.

It helped me to think of my main character in Two Suitors, Mandy Reinhart.  She needs a dose of a renewed youth, herself.  She doesn't realize her life has had one stressful situation after another, until she meets Adam Littleton.  It is with him she feels young again, in spite of being thirty-five and feeling the need to invest desperately in the fountain of youth.  

Adam's passion is his cover band, where he plays covers of classic rock songs.  In the more recent years, Mandy realizes she, too, likes this kind of music.  Their conversations are mostly about that.  

And for the record, there's something about Cheap Trick's music that makes me feel young.

How has this arrangement affected the direction I am going with this book?  Here is an excerpt from Two Suitors:

As we were getting ready to delegate lunch breaks, a guy maybe my age or older, came in.  He had shoulder-length blond hair and was wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of torn-up jeans.  
“Hey, man!  Where have you been hiding?” Bob asked this guy, as they shook hands.
“Hibernating,” he said, laughing. “Actually, I have done what I do every winter, and that is to take time off from shows and do some more writing.”
“Awesome.  I’m sure you have some cool stuff.”
“Yeah.  It’s coming along as good as it can be.  I just figured I’d stop by here and see what’s going on over here.”
“Sure.  Look around.  I’m getting ready to go to lunch,” Bob said.  Before he started to the back, he put on Cheap Trick’s Live in Budohan. That left me alone with this stranger, whom Bob seemed to be well-acquainted with.
He noticed the familiar music coming from the turntable.  He bobbed his head in time to the music, played some air guitar, and sang along with the lyrics, which he seemed familiar with.  I had to assume he himself had this same album.  When he saw me studying him, he stopped, met my gaze, and said, “I don’t know if I’ve seen you before,” he said, pointing his finger in my direction, noticing the new employee.
“No.  I started here a few months ago,” I said casually.
He raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes in fascination.  “Ah!  Cool!  You like it here?”
“Oh!  Yes, I do,” I said, trying to match his surprise and enthusiasm.
He extended his hand and said, “I’m Adam Littleton.”
I took his hand and said, “Nice to meet you, Adam. I’m Mandy.”
One thing I used to hate but now appreciate is when someone starts to sing a few lines from that famous Barry Manilow song...No, I wasn’t named after it.  Adam sang it.  I tried not to make this happen, but my cheeks got red.  Why did I do this once again?  My face even got red when I made an honest mistake.  I have been trying hard to not do that again.
“Is there something I can help you find?”
“Nah,” he said, waving his hand.  “I’m just killing some time, looking at some vinyl.”  
I noticed he was looking at some Beatles records.  Being an efficient saleswoman, I said to him, “We just got a copy of The Blue Album in today.”
His face lit up with delight and surprise. “Really?  I’ve been looking for that, to get a good deal on it, for quite some time.”
Since it was the most recent addition to the three rows of albums, I reached down and pulled it out and handed it to Adam.  His eyes moved up and down as he studied it.  He flipped it over and continued his thorough perusal.  “Will that be the one you buy?”
“It just may.  My band and I cover these songs all the time.”
“What band are you in?”
“The Adam Littleton Band.”
“I take it you formed the band?”
“You’re right.  We’ve been together for a little over five years.  We’ve played at many festivals, the biggest of which is the Fab Four Fest, held every Labor Day weekend.”
I missed it, I thought to myself as I listened in increasing fascination to this regular customer at Donelson’s.  “When is your next show?”
“In a few weeks.  You’re welcome to come anytime...uh...” he paused, pointing his finger to me and said, “I’ve become terrible with names.”
“Oh! Yes!  I’m not in Barry Manilow mode today,” he said and laughed.  He nodded his head toward the vinyl and said, “I’m going to look around for a little while longer and see what other goodies I can drain my bank account of,” he said and laughed.  
What I had to do behind the counter could wait. I loved talking to Adam, and I knew he appreciated the conversation.  I don’t know if I had had this kind of conversation ever in my life.  In just a short few minutes, I already liked Adam.  Though I assumed he was my age or older, I liked how he made me feel young.  Did he have that kind of attitude, as well? After all I had been through, I needed many moments where I needed to feel young again.  As Adam and I talked, I wondered what he went through to make him the man he was today.
He must have spent at least a half hour there, making his way all through the Rock section of vinyl.  If he wasn’t at Z by now, I’d be surprised. He never put down the album I had given him.
“I think I’ll go ahead and take it,” he said, handing it to me.  I made my way back behind the counter and scanned it.
“Anything else for you today, Adam?”
“No, that will be it for now.”
I gave him the total.  He paid with cash and left, giving me a big smile before he turned and left.
I tried really hard to not read in to how Adam smiled at me.  But I got the impression that the next time he came in to the store, we would have a fun conversation.  Since I already learned about one of our regular customers, I made sure he would get any deal he possibly could.

There must have been something about the conversation with Adam that made me want to cue up Beatles songs on YouTube.  I have been known to listen to one or two from time to time.  But not like this.  I couldn’t get over his blond-hair-blue-eye looks.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm Out There!

Since I published The Long Road Around the Corner of Hope and Crawling to the Light in 2014, as well as Wise Turned Foolish this past October, I haven't had a lot of sales.  While I have moments where I wonder if it's even worth it to keep writing, though I don't have as many of those as I used to, I still do it.  Without going into too much detail, I still have lots of personal issues to deal with.  But I am making lots of progress.  In so doing, I have become a better writer, more focused.

Someone recently told me, and many times, that enthusiasm and passion go a much longer way than knowledge and skills.  While I by no means blow off the latter, I have to keep in mind the former.

I know it's all a matter of getting myself out there and finding the right market.  That has been my focus at the moment.  The hard work I'm doing to get to that point is paying off.

I got out there once again this past weekend, at Romancing the Smokies, networked with other authors, all of whom encouraged me to no end, and I did the same in return. 

Soon after checking in Friday evening, I met future paranormal romance author Samantha Nimrod. We easily broke the ice, talking back and forth about family, faith, books, and best of all, writing.  I told her the titles of my books and showed them to her on Amazon.

"I've seen that before," she said when she noticed the front cover of Wise Turned Foolish.

To me, it didn't matter what else she or anyone else said to me the rest of that weekend, although I had lots of awesome and edifying conversations.  That spoke volumes to me.  
Quite honestly, I don't know if I had gotten that much encouragement from any authors in the time I've been writing.

See what happens when you don't give up, or when you think no one is watching or noticing you, but you keep going on anyway?  And when you do, knocking on doors, networking, etc? This word of encouragement is for not only my fellow authors, but for anybody else reading this post who needs just a little bit of encouragement for today.

If you haven't heard yet of Wise Turned Foolish, here is a link to a preview, as well as the one from Amazon.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

So Many Things on My Mind!

I am currently so immersed in the author's life, and in a season in my life where I am enjoying to the fullest the new lease I have gotten.  As a result, I find I have so many ideas and am soon overwhelmed.  Though I try to prioritize everything, break big projects down into small ones, and not let small thing get in the way, I find at the end of the day I wonder if I accomplished anything at all.

In this endless yet exciting flurry of activity, I thought I'd take some time to fill you in on what I have been working on:

(1) In preparing for Wise Turned Foolish on audio, I am practicing for about two hours a few days a week.  I have been working on this since around January.  Details to come as events unfold.  I'm looking to do this around the summer time.  I know by then, I will be very well-rehearsed and ready to go.

(2) Though I'm still working on Professional Fans, I've more or less shelved it.  I'm having one of those moments where I need to take a break from it to allow some related things to happen in my life before I proceed any further with it.  I feel at peace about this, knowing I have done this before.  I did something like this when I worked on Wise Turned Foolish. If I was able to go back to it and make it better than the first time, and I always finish what I start, this is no exception.  I have loved the work I have done on Professional Fans, creating Holly Fowler, Natasha Gold, Gary Grayson, and Randy Daniel, the main characters.   If you would like to read a preview of it, here it is https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1209918.  Any feedback would certainly be appreciated, please.  

(3)  The plot for Stone Solid, a work in progress I have had since around 2014, is clearer now than ever before.  What I had written is "junk" compared to what I have in mind for it now.

(4)  This morning, I started another book, Kill the Locust.  It is about a young single woman, Amy Greeley, who overcomes endometriosis.  During this time, she falls in love with Jeremy Nelson, and they can't wait to get married.  With the threat of this chronic illness, they make a very unusual, unconventional decision about their future.  Those of you who know me, know I once had that and have done very well (if I do say so myself) in overcoming that.  It is now time for me to put it in a book.

(5)  It seems that if I was of a mind to write contemporary romance, I'd have to lie down in order for me to concentrate on it.  That is the only way I could ever do so.  With all of the above-mentioned items, plus others I won't discuss, when do I have the time during the day  to lie down?  Right about now, the only time I do that is when I'm going to sleep, which, due to my super-busy schedule, I do easily.  In any case, I still plan to continue to work on Two Suitors.

In spite of my almost overbooked daily schedule, I'd like to take some time to thank you for everyone for your support.  That, and many other things, is what allows me to "show up" every morning here at my desk--and accomplish all of this and more.